SELECT AN EDITION:
9th EDITION   10th EDITION   11th EDITION
A First Look at Communication Theory Reveal main menu
 

CHANGE TO: View by Type

Resources
by Theory

 VIEW BY THEORY HOME
For the full list of resources
see View by Type

Instructors can get additional
resources. Read more





CONVERSATION VIDEOS








Archived chapters (PDF)
from previous editions are
available in Resources by
Type. See list

New to Theory Resources?
Find out more in this
short video overview (3:01).


Uses and Gratifications
Elihu Katz

MASS COMMUNICATION: MEDIA EFFECTS


Chapter Outline 11th Edition

  1. Introduction.
  1. Instead of asking, “What do media do to people?” Katz flipped the question around to ask, “What do people do with media?”
  2. The theory attempts to make sense of the fact that people consume an array of media messages for all sorts of reasons, and the effect of a given message is unlikely to be the same for everyone.
  3. The driving mechanism of media use is need gratification.
  4. Understanding the need(s) helps to explain the reasons and the effects of media usage.
  5. Five key assumptions underlie the theory of uses and gratifications.
  1. Assumption 1: People use media for their own particular purposes.
  1. The study of how media affect people must take account of the fact that people deliberately use media for particular purposes; this is Katz’s fundamental assumption.
  2. Audiences are not passive; they decide which media they want to use and what effects they want the media to have.
  3. Uses and gratifications theory emphasizes that media choices are personal and can change over time.
  4. Exposure to media messages do not affect everyone in the same way, but fulfill different purposes at different times.
    1. The uniform effects model of media proposes that media messages have the same effect on everyone in the audience.
    2. Uses and gratifications theory rejects this image and replaces it with one of free choice based on individual yearnings at particular times.
  1. Research by Robert Plomin discovered that genetics accounted for as much as 25% of the variance in media use.
  2. We may have a genetic predisposition to be attracted to given media but the active choice we make cannot be accounted for by DNA.
  1. Assumption 2: People seek to gratify needs.
  1. People have needs that they seek to gratify through media use.
  2. The deliberate choices people make in using media are presumably based on the gratifications they seek from those media.
  3. There is not a straight-line effect where a specific effect on behavior can be predicted from media content alone, with no consideration of the consumer.
  4. The key to understanding media depends on which needs a person satisfies when selecting a media message.
  1. Assumption 3: Media compete for our attention and time.
  1. Different media compete with each other for your time as well as other activities that don’t involve media exposure.
  2. The notion that media compete for attention and time is only an initial step in understanding the choices people make. The more interesting question is why they make their choice of one option over another.
  3. The need that motivates media consumption must be identified in an effort to understand why people make the choices they do.
  1. Assumption 4: Media affect different people differently.
  1. Audiences are made up of people who are not identical.
  2. These differences determine the outcome or gratification a consumer receives.
  1. Assumption 5: People can accurately report their media use and motivation.
  1. If uses & gratifications theory was to have any future, researchers had to find a way to uncover the media that people consumed and the reasons they consumed it.
  2. To discover why people consume media, they must be asked.
  3. The controversial aspect of this measurement strategy is whether or not people are truly capable of discerning the reasons for their media consumption.
  4. Scholars have attempted to show that people’s reports of the reasons for their media consumption can be trusted, but this continues to be debated.
  1. A typology of uses and gratifications.
  1. For many decades, uses & grats researchers have compiled various lists of the motives people report, constructing a typology of major reasons for exposure to media.
  2. A typology is simply a classification scheme that attempts to sort a large number of specific instances into a more manageable set of categories.
  3. Rubin claims that his typology of eight motivations can account for most explanations people give for why they watch television.
  1. Passing time.
  2. Companionship.
  3. Escape.
  4. Enjoyment.
  5. Social interaction.
  6. Relaxation.
  7. Information.
  8. Excitement.
  1. These broad categories may not be mutually exclusive.
  2. Each category is relatively simplistic but can be further subdivided.
  3. Rubin claims that his typology captures most of the explanations people give for their media consumption.
  4. Researchers have argued for including habitual watching as a possible motive for media use.
  1. Parasocial relationships: Using media to have a fantasy friend.
  1. A parasocial relationship is a sense of friendship or emotional attachment that develops between TV viewers and media personalities. 
  2. Public figures often want to build parasocial relationships with followers.
  3. When a media personality appears in TV or movie scenes with a specific product brand, viewers rate the brand more positively if they have a parasocial relationship with the celebrity.
  4. While users gratify their desire for entertainment, public figures gratify their desire for fame, influence, and profit.
  1. A sampler of modern applications of uses & grats.
    1. Uses & grats is inspiring more research than almost any other theory in this book.
    2. It is being applied to various technologies on the twenty-first century media landscape.
      1. Glebatis Perks and Turner claim that podcasts meet listeners’ desires for content that is “fresher,” “more engaging,” and more customizable than what’s available in local radio markets.
      2. Spinda and Puckette found four uses and gratifications for sports fans’ use of Snapchat: ease and convenience, ability to get “behind the scenes,” the “vicarious experience,” and the “unique point of view.”
      3. Lee and Cho looked at five gratifications of fitness apps: recordability, network connections with other users, credible health information, easy to understand, and trendiness.
      4. Pires and colleagues identified five gratifications of YouTube users: using it like a radio, using it like a TV, creating your own content, making social connections, and taking advantage of educational opportunities.
    3. Scholars’ application of uses & grats helps identify how a technology fits into our menu of media choices and reveals new gratifications we hadn’t considered before.
  1. Critique: Heavy on description and light on prediction?
    1. One criticism of uses & grats is that its major contributions have avoided explanation and prediction in favor of merely describing how people use media.
    2. Sundar bemoans how uses & grats scholars have generated what seems like a never-ending list of descriptive typologies. Instead of thinking that people use media to satisfy a need that arises from within them, he believes that users are guided by the affordances of technology—the characteristics of technology design that encourage and discourage certain uses. He refers to this affordance-centered approach as version 2.0 of uses and gratifications.
    3. Some scholars adhere to Sundar’s 2.0 revision, while others continue to work from the original formulation of the theory.
    4. The propositions that people use media to gratify particular needs and that those needs can be succinctly described using eight categories seem relatively simple.
    5. Scholars question the theory’s testability based on whether or not people can accurately report the reasons for their media use.
    6. Uses & grats has generated a large body of quantitative research.

CHANGE TO: View by Type

Resources
by Theory

 THEORY HOME
For the full list of resources
see View by Type

Instructors can get additional
resources. Read more





VIDEOS








Archived chapters (PDF)
from previous editions
are available in
Resources by Type.
See list

New to Theory
Resources?

Find out more in this short
video overview (3:01).


Uses and Gratifications
Elihu Katz

MASS COMMUNICATION: MEDIA EFFECTS


Chapter Outline 11th Edition

  1. Introduction.
  1. Instead of asking, “What do media do to people?” Katz flipped the question around to ask, “What do people do with media?”
  2. The theory attempts to make sense of the fact that people consume an array of media messages for all sorts of reasons, and the effect of a given message is unlikely to be the same for everyone.
  3. The driving mechanism of media use is need gratification.
  4. Understanding the need(s) helps to explain the reasons and the effects of media usage.
  5. Five key assumptions underlie the theory of uses and gratifications.
  1. Assumption 1: People use media for their own particular purposes.
  1. The study of how media affect people must take account of the fact that people deliberately use media for particular purposes; this is Katz’s fundamental assumption.
  2. Audiences are not passive; they decide which media they want to use and what effects they want the media to have.
  3. Uses and gratifications theory emphasizes that media choices are personal and can change over time.
  4. Exposure to media messages do not affect everyone in the same way, but fulfill different purposes at different times.
    1. The uniform effects model of media proposes that media messages have the same effect on everyone in the audience.
    2. Uses and gratifications theory rejects this image and replaces it with one of free choice based on individual yearnings at particular times.
  1. Research by Robert Plomin discovered that genetics accounted for as much as 25% of the variance in media use.
  2. We may have a genetic predisposition to be attracted to given media but the active choice we make cannot be accounted for by DNA.
  1. Assumption 2: People seek to gratify needs.
  1. People have needs that they seek to gratify through media use.
  2. The deliberate choices people make in using media are presumably based on the gratifications they seek from those media.
  3. There is not a straight-line effect where a specific effect on behavior can be predicted from media content alone, with no consideration of the consumer.
  4. The key to understanding media depends on which needs a person satisfies when selecting a media message.
  1. Assumption 3: Media compete for our attention and time.
  1. Different media compete with each other for your time as well as other activities that don’t involve media exposure.
  2. The notion that media compete for attention and time is only an initial step in understanding the choices people make. The more interesting question is why they make their choice of one option over another.
  3. The need that motivates media consumption must be identified in an effort to understand why people make the choices they do.
  1. Assumption 4: Media affect different people differently.
  1. Audiences are made up of people who are not identical.
  2. These differences determine the outcome or gratification a consumer receives.
  1. Assumption 5: People can accurately report their media use and motivation.
  1. If uses & gratifications theory was to have any future, researchers had to find a way to uncover the media that people consumed and the reasons they consumed it.
  2. To discover why people consume media, they must be asked.
  3. The controversial aspect of this measurement strategy is whether or not people are truly capable of discerning the reasons for their media consumption.
  4. Scholars have attempted to show that people’s reports of the reasons for their media consumption can be trusted, but this continues to be debated.
  1. A typology of uses and gratifications.
  1. For many decades, uses & grats researchers have compiled various lists of the motives people report, constructing a typology of major reasons for exposure to media.
  2. A typology is simply a classification scheme that attempts to sort a large number of specific instances into a more manageable set of categories.
  3. Rubin claims that his typology of eight motivations can account for most explanations people give for why they watch television.
  1. Passing time.
  2. Companionship.
  3. Escape.
  4. Enjoyment.
  5. Social interaction.
  6. Relaxation.
  7. Information.
  8. Excitement.
  1. These broad categories may not be mutually exclusive.
  2. Each category is relatively simplistic but can be further subdivided.
  3. Rubin claims that his typology captures most of the explanations people give for their media consumption.
  4. Researchers have argued for including habitual watching as a possible motive for media use.
  1. Parasocial relationships: Using media to have a fantasy friend.
  1. A parasocial relationship is a sense of friendship or emotional attachment that develops between TV viewers and media personalities. 
  2. Public figures often want to build parasocial relationships with followers.
  3. When a media personality appears in TV or movie scenes with a specific product brand, viewers rate the brand more positively if they have a parasocial relationship with the celebrity.
  4. While users gratify their desire for entertainment, public figures gratify their desire for fame, influence, and profit.
  1. A sampler of modern applications of uses & grats.
    1. Uses & grats is inspiring more research than almost any other theory in this book.
    2. It is being applied to various technologies on the twenty-first century media landscape.
      1. Glebatis Perks and Turner claim that podcasts meet listeners’ desires for content that is “fresher,” “more engaging,” and more customizable than what’s available in local radio markets.
      2. Spinda and Puckette found four uses and gratifications for sports fans’ use of Snapchat: ease and convenience, ability to get “behind the scenes,” the “vicarious experience,” and the “unique point of view.”
      3. Lee and Cho looked at five gratifications of fitness apps: recordability, network connections with other users, credible health information, easy to understand, and trendiness.
      4. Pires and colleagues identified five gratifications of YouTube users: using it like a radio, using it like a TV, creating your own content, making social connections, and taking advantage of educational opportunities.
    3. Scholars’ application of uses & grats helps identify how a technology fits into our menu of media choices and reveals new gratifications we hadn’t considered before.
  1. Critique: Heavy on description and light on prediction?
    1. One criticism of uses & grats is that its major contributions have avoided explanation and prediction in favor of merely describing how people use media.
    2. Sundar bemoans how uses & grats scholars have generated what seems like a never-ending list of descriptive typologies. Instead of thinking that people use media to satisfy a need that arises from within them, he believes that users are guided by the affordances of technology—the characteristics of technology design that encourage and discourage certain uses. He refers to this affordance-centered approach as version 2.0 of uses and gratifications.
    3. Some scholars adhere to Sundar’s 2.0 revision, while others continue to work from the original formulation of the theory.
    4. The propositions that people use media to gratify particular needs and that those needs can be succinctly described using eight categories seem relatively simple.
    5. Scholars question the theory’s testability based on whether or not people can accurately report the reasons for their media use.
    6. Uses & grats has generated a large body of quantitative research.

The screen on this device is not wide enough to display Theory Resources. Try rotating the device to landscape orientation to see if more options become available.

Resources available to all users:

  • Text Comparison—theories covered in A First Look and ten other textbooks
  • Theory Overview—abstract of each chapter
  • Self-Help Quizzes—for student preparation
  • Chapter Outlines
  • Key Names—important names and terms in each chapter
  • Conversation Videos—interviews with theorists
  • Application Logs—student application of theories
  • Essay Questions—for student prepatation
  • Suggested Movie Clips—tie-in movie scenese to theories
  • Links—web resources related to each chapter
  • Primary Sources—for each theory with full chapter coverage
  • Further Resources—bibliographic and other suggestions
  • Changes—for each theory, since the previous edition
  • Theory Archive—PDF copies from the last edition in which a theory appeared

Resources available only to registered instructors who are logged in:

  • Discussion Suggestions
  • Exercises & Activities
  • PowerPoint® presentations you can use
  • Short Answer Quizzes—suggested questions and answers

Information for Instructors. Read more


 

Copyright © Em Griffin 2022 | Web design by Graphic Impact